Grocery shopping can be complicated enough when considering, how much to spend, gathering coupons or knowing what everyone in the house wants to eat this week. Let alone worrying about the ingredients or packaging that the food items are in. Some of us are too overwhelmed and skip the worry altogether, while others decide to shop exclusively at farmers markets and organic grocery stores. I personally find it to be very frustrating and aim to land somewhere in the middle. We shop thinking that the companies processing our food items have our best interest at heart and sometimes that is just not true. I do think there is an option for everyone. Maybe we can begin by avoiding certain ingredients or products. Here is a list of eleven items that you may want to eliminate from your food pantry for good. Are there any foods we missed? What do you steer clear of?
1. Microwave Popcorn
Why: The fake butter flavor can cause lung disease when inhaled. This chemical is called Diacetyl.
What to eat instead: Pop your own organic popcorn kernels. I love the air popped appliances you can buy. Sprinkle some healthier alternatives on top such as paprika, sea salt, organic butter or even cinnamon.’
I love this Air Popcorn Popper from Walmart!
2. Condensed or Canned Soups
Why: Too much salt! As we all know salt can raise your blood pressure so if you suffer from high blood pressure or even high cholesterol stay away from canned soups for lunch. They may be easy to shop for and throw in your lunch bag, but they are no good for your health.
What to eat instead: Try homemade. Even shop at the fresh foods counter of your local grocery store to buy their homemade soups if you do not have the time or want to begin making your own.
Why: Margarine is largely made up of trans fats. This type of fat clogs your arteries and can help cause high cholesterol and even diabetes.
What to eat instead: Butter! I just heard on the news the other day that butter is now the better choice over margarine! Even though it also has fats, they are natural and animal based. My only thinking here is to buy organic so that the animal fat it is made from does not contain added hormones or fertilizers. It’s crazy to think that we must know if the food products we eat were made from animals that ate foods that could be harmful to us.
4. Vegetable Oils
Why: They can be genetically modified, which can cause a variety of health issues from diabetes and cancer to digestive disorders.
What to eat instead: Coconut Oil. I use vegetable or Extra Virgin Olive Oil when cooking but have been thinking of giving Coconut Oil a try. I have heard it tastes great and helps your body in a number of ways including weight loss.
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Why: It is fake. This man made product can create a variety of health problems like weight gain or even diabetes. The two things we thought it would help prevent! I personally cannot drink or eat artificial sweeteners because it hurts my stomach. I have also heard that it does not digest as easy as natural sugar.
What to eat instead: Real Sugar! Yup that’s right, grab the real sugar instead but use is sparingly. Even when choosing products in store I like to find those that contain “real sugar” or “reduced sugar”.
6. Food Dyes
Why: Some studies have shown that too much food coloring can have adverse health effects such as allergies, hyper activity and even cancer. This is terrible to think of because most of the really dyed foods are those that are marketed to kids such as the fruity looking cereals and “fruit snacks”.
What to eat instead: Check the ingredients of your food items and look for words like ” natural food coloring”.
Grab a pack of Natural Food Coloring from Amazon!
7. Non Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Why: The pesticides that they are sprayed with in order to keep bugs and predators like bees away can be harmful to your health! I never realized that the pretty plump strawberries I buy each week could be contaminated with chemicals.
What to eat instead: Aim for Organic. I have realized that some of the organic alternatives are no longer that much more expensive. I’m not sure if they have come down in price or if the regular foods have just inflated prices so much now over time that they have caught up. For example I buy the bagged organic baby carrots at Walmart for only $.15 cents more than the regular. I figure the extra change is worth it for my family’s health.
8. Canned Tomatoes
Why: The lining of the tin can mixed with the acid in the tomatoes is a toxic combination. The cans contain a synthetic chemical called Bisphenol that can cause a myriad of issues from heart disease to reproductive issues. I have to say that I have always bought canned tomatoes and I will now rethink putting them on my grocery list.
What to eat instead: Buy jarred tomatoes or jarred plain pasta sauce. This alternative will cut out the dangerous effects of the tin lining of the canned alternative.
9. Grain Fed Beef
Why: The grains that some farmers feed their cattle are a byproduct of corn and soy which is fertilized with chicken manure. This fattens them up quicker for sale, but leads to an unhealthy meat product on your dinner table. Cows are herbivores and need the grass not the grains.
What to eat instead: Grab the Grass Fed Beef! Have you heard this debate in the past? Grass or Grain Fed? I have and haven’t given it much thought until now, but it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately it gives me more of a headache because it just adds to the complication of grocery shopping!
10. Farmed Fish
Why: Farmed fish are basically fish that are produced and fed in an underwater pen. The problem is that they are fed soy and chicken by product which is not only unnatural for the fish to consume but can contain pesticides and carcinogens.
What to eat instead: Look for “Wild Caught Fish”. Getting your fish the old fashioned way is healthier. What I don’t understand is why fish farmers cannot find a healthy more natural alternative for the fish they produce. Hopefully a solution like this is in the works!
11. Soybeans or Soybean Products
Why: Most soybeans are genetically modified. This means that their makeup has been reworked to obtain a desired characteristic. Many are now saying to stay away from GMOs. This is a currently hot debate in that most of the products in our stores contain them. Soy is one of the first items I had heard about being connected with the term GMO. I also heard that it can wreak havoc on your hormones and other systems in your body.
What to eat instead: Check the labels of the items you pick up. Soy is an ingredient in a number of products that we don’t even realize. Try to avoid food products containing any type of soy, if GMO’s are an issue for you.
For more info on healthy eating check out “How To Save Money On Organic Foods”.